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Session Chair: Gladys Ganiel, Queen's University Belfast
Location:BS.4.05A Manchester Metropolitan University
Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium
Conversion to Tibetan Buddhism in Communist Poland, Exploration of Individual and Social Memory
Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
The presentation explore life stories of Polish Buddhists, who during the 1970s and 1980s decided to renounce Christianity in order to practice dharma. It explains how their religious identity changed over the last 40 years and how Tibetan Buddhism started to develop in communist Poland. Presented narrations refer to individual and social memory of practitioners. Exploration of reminiscences helped to identify and characterise the circumstances standing behind the first Buddhist conversions. What is more, it helped to trace the further growth of first Karma Kagyu sangha. Data used in the presentation originates from a 5-year qualitative research project (which included in-depth interviews, participant observation and content analysis) conducted among contemporary Buddhists.
Middle Generation Religious Values and Patterns of their (Non)Transmission in Contemporary Lithuania
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
This paper aims to analyze religious values and patterns of their transmission among representatives of middle generation, born from 1970 to 1985 in Lithuania. The paper is based on the analysis of semi structured interviews (n=80) with representatives of middle generation – women and men, married and non-married, living in partnership or single who have children, that were conducted in 2018-2019. Following the classical insights about generations provided by sociologist Manheim (1952), these social units are transmitting change, expressing discontinuity, at the same time they are influenced by historical-social processes. Contemporary middle generation was socialized during Soviet period and throughout the period of socio-political transformations, its religious socialization included both underground and public religious education. As this generation is reaching its midlife, patterns of religiosity might be discovered. What are religious values of the middle generation in contemporary Lithuania and how are they reflected in their everyday life? What is religious habitus of the middle generation? What are (if there are any) patterns of transmission of religious values among representatives of middle generation to other generation? How do these patterns differ according to gender, social status of the informants? These questions will be approached during the presentation followed by the discussion about empirical data.
Occasional Religiosity: The Case of Participation in Anglican Religious Practices in Toronto, Canada
Sarah Kathleen Johnson
University of Notre Dame, United States
Occasional religiosity is a way of being religious that is defined by occasional participation in religious practices—attending religious services occasionally rather than routinely, usually in association with specific occasions, such as holidays, life-course transitions, or crises.
I develop the concept of occasional religiosity through the examination of participation in Anglican religious practices in Toronto, Canada, a “majority minority” metropolis. This interdisciplinary mixed-methods study draws on interviews with clergy about baptisms and funerals involving families with a range of relationships to religion, analysis of diocesan statistical records with attention to Christmas and Easter attendance, and participant observation of occasional liturgies. It is the foundation for a larger study engaging occasional religious practitioners in Canada, a comparison case for Europe.
Anchored in sociological definitions of religion as practice (Riesebrodt 2009, Smith 2017), occasional religiosity attends to the content and experience as well as the frequency of religious practices. Unlike contemporary spiritualities practiced independently or in loose networks (Ammerman 2013, Drescher 2016, Lee 2015), occasional religiosity relies on congregations and clergy. Although the concept is related to approaches that rely on self-identification with traditions or beliefs such as vicarious religion (Davie 2007), fuzzy fidelity (Voas 2009), and collectivistic religion (Jakelić 2010), occasional religiosity is grounded in observable practices.
While their practices may appear remarkably uniform, occasional practitioners understand themselves in diverse ways including identifying as deeply religious, nonreligious, somewhere in between, or even affiliating with other religious traditions. As a dominant expression of religion in Canada today, occasional religiosity is central to understanding how people engage in religious practices together across difference in ways that produce both cohesion and conflict in increasingly nonreligious and religiously diverse social contexts.
Religious Conversion and Cultural Transgression. Roma Pentecostals Integration (?) in Polish Carpathians
This presentation is based on multiple ethnographic observation in local Roma community in Southern Poland. Conversion to Pentecostalism in Roma mountainous settlement in Poland can be analyzed as the factor of profound social changes in relations between minority and majority. The most significant cultural and ethnic identity shift seems to be the greatest transformation in individuals and a group on a whole. In case of Roma Pentecostal way of life leads to transgression of traditional Roma norms and values, built around the idea of sharp division between we-group and they-group (Roma and gadzio). This evokes following crucial questions we intend to concentrate on: 1. Why local Roma decide to convert to Pentecostalism? What is the emic and etic understanding of this conversion? 2. How the transformation of life style effect the general axiological transformation of traditional Roma value system? 3. How the conversion effects entire Roma local community integration constructing new division? 4. Does conversion to Pentecostalism give chance for general integration of Roma community to majority society?